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Pollution District Receives National Award for Santa Barbara Car Free Project

The county agency is one of 15 recipients of a Clean Air Excellence Award from the EPA

The Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District announced Tuesday that its Santa Barbara Car Free project has received a national 2009 Clean Air Excellence Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The district is one of only 15 award recipients from around the country that were honored at a ceremony on May 26 in Washington, D.C.

“I am very proud of the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District and the Santa Barbara Car Free project and its many partners,” said Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara. “It’s good to see the project’s work for sustainable tourism — and a sustainable community — honored with this national award.”

“We are so honored to be selected for this award,” Air Pollution Control District Director Terry Dressler said. “We thank our area partners for the outstanding collaboration that has made this project possible.”

Santa Barbara Car Free was honored in the Community Action category. The project, founded in 1998 and led by the district, is supported by the city of Santa Barbara, Amtrak California and more than 100 partners — business, organizations, and individuals — working together to promote car-free travel to and around Santa Barbara for cleaner air and a healthier planet.

“Innovation and commitment are the keys to environmental progress, and our Clean Air Excellence Award winners are tremendous examples,” said Gina McCarthy, EPA assistant administrator for air and radiation. “As we look to the future, these winners will help lead the way toward cleaner air and a healthier environment.”

The Clean Air Excellence Awards Program, established in 2000 at the recommendation of the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee, annually recognizes and honors outstanding innovative efforts to help make progress in achieving cleaner air. Award-winning entries must directly or indirectly reduce pollutant emissions, demonstrate innovation, offer sustainable outcomes, and provide a model for others to follow.

Santa Barbara Car Free partners will be honored at the district’s board meeting at 1:30 p.m. June 17 in the Board of Supervisors hearing room at 105 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara.

— Mary Byrd is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District and manager of its Santa Barbara Car Free project.

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